Carroll schools honor Peddy

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

The memory of Carolyn Peddy, a generous teacher who lost her battle with cancer, will live on at Oakland Elementary with Think Pink Day.

Principal Junior Gentry and teacher Sheila Hommema came up with the idea to ensure that educators, parents and students wouldn't forget the quiet contributions that Peddy made during her time at Oakland.

If Peddy saw one of her students wearing worn-out shoes, she'd find a suitable pair, put them in the child's cubby and point them out to the student as if someone else had left them, Hommema said.

Peddy did the same thing to give a student a coat on another occasion, Hommema recalled. And Peddy felt that giving children in her class school supplies was part of her job as a teacher.

She always gave those gifts humbly and quietly, not wanting to draw attention to herself.

After Peddy succumbed to cancer in January 2007, people in the know kept up her tradition of helping children by creating the Carolyn's Kids' Fund, overseen by Gentry and a committee.

(An annual citizenship award at Oakland is also given to students in Peddy's name.)

Colleagues considered Peddy a "beloved friend."

"Carolyn was a devoted parent and teacher who, for over 30 years, personally and generously addressed the needs of students in the classroom and beyond," according to information about the Carolyn's Kids' Fund, written by Principal Junior Gentry. "Whatever was lacking that would improve a student's well being, she tried to provide."

(Peddy was also honored this year with a memorial tree at Galax High School, where her children attended.)

Think Pink Day will remember Peddy and her good works by raising funds for Carolyn's Kids. The effort continues to supply students with absolute necessities.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, observed in October, provided an idea for how to honor Petty.

Students and educators will wear pink on Think Pink Day, and parents and school staff are encouraged to make a donation of at least a dollar to help others through the fund named after Peddy.

It also draws attention to the fight against breast cancer, a disease that one in eight women are diagnosed with.

The first observance of Think Pink Day was last Thursday, and the school will decide on a set day to hold it every year.

Other schools and central office workers also participated, along with Oakland.

A total of the donations was not immediately available.

Peddy was the best teacher, Hommema said.

"We just want to make sure she is remembered for everything she taught us," Hommema said. "Her legacy was just unbelievable."

• Send tax-deductible contributions to Oakland Elementary School, 4930 Pipers Gap Rd., Galax, Va., 24333, with checks made payable to Carolyn's Kids' Fund. For more information, call Gentry at 236-3049.